Environmental Club works to make New Trier more green

Students aim to raise awarness about environmental consciousness

Jasmine Gonzalez

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Do you own a New Trier Nalgene and fill it up at one of the many sensor activated water bottle stations located throughout the building? Do you, dare I ask, recycle?

If you answered “yes,” “maybe,” or “unsure” to any of the above questions, then congratulations, you have been an active, or at least semi active, participant in the school wide initiative to be more green.

With the improvements made to the campus and the many campaigns led by clubs and students organizations, this movement is hard to ignore.

Although all students are encouraged to do their part in taking care of the planet, Environmental Club has been a driving force in the many projects that have been undertaken.

This student organization has been around for over a decade and has become more active than ever with the surge in interest surrounding environmental issues. The club currently boasts eighteen active members.

This year, the club is headed by student leaders Stella Cook, a junior, and Will Kincaid, a sophomore. The sponsor is librarian Raquelle Brennan, who brought the club to the Northfield Campus while social studies teacher Kerry Hall was still the sponsor here on the Winnetka Campus.

Although most students recognize the club for the Nalgene Project that took place during January of the last school year, the club has a very long list of past contributions.

The student leaders and Brennan noted a few of their most significant contributions, including the Earth Day Symposium (student-led by Virginia Wiltshire-Gordon and included various guest speakers from the Chicago area), the establishment of compost of fruits and vegetables within the creation of the IGGS garden (led by former student leader Andrew Katcha in conjuction with the Physical Plant Services and former principal Dr. Dohrer), as well as the participation of New Trier Volunteers in the Going Green Matters Environmental Fair sponsored by Go Green Wilmette.

After the success of the Nalgene project, you may be wondering if Envrionmental Club has anything in store for this school year. According to Kincaid, this year the club is working to end the sale of plastic water bottles in the cafeteria and replace them with aluminum bottles.

Despite the fact that there are many recycling bins located throughout the building, and plastic is in fact recyclable, that is not doing enough.

As Kincaid explained, “Plastic can only be recycled about eight times before it’s exhausted, whereas aluminum is infinitely recyclable.”

Of course, with all of the natural disasters that have been going on, Environmental Club is making sure to do their part. Last year, the club was successful in their sticker sale. This year they will be conducting the same project to benefit hurricane relief funds.

With so many projects and events going on, you may be wondering how everything can come together. The club meets every Monday after school to brainstorm ideas for new projects. Brennan explained, “The student leaders identify a few goals together and gather ideas and feedback from students in the club. The co-heads lead meetings to generate ideas from students and re-visit these throughout the year.”

With a long record of campaigns and projects to benefit the environment, it’s safe to say that the Environmental Club has made its mark at New Trier.

For many students, joining a club is just another way to get involved for the sole purpose of doing something in school. Although that is how Kincaid got started his first year, the influence and impact of the club made him not want to leave.

Kincaid said, “I originally joined because I wanted to do something for the school. I stayed because I realized how much influence just one club can have on the such a large high school.”

Brennan added, “I think Environmental Club has had a positive impact on New Trier. The students have helped to raise awareness.”


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